Linden Lab highlights GDPR – coming into force on May 25th 2018

On May 25th, 2018 the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) comes into force. While an EU regulation, the GDPR not only applies to organisations located within the EU but it will also apply to organisations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU data subjects.

The GDPR applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location. As such, it not  only Linden Lab, who hold data on Second Life and Sansar users in the European Union, it can also impact those operating a business through Second Life and who collect data on customers which is stored outside of the servers operated by Linden Lab.

In preparation for the enforcement of the GDPR, on May 9th, 2018, Linden Lab issued a preliminary blog post on their compliance with the GDPR, which covers both Second Life or Sansar.

GDPR, in a nutshell.

Put simply, the GDPR puts in place new requirements for the collection, maintenance, and use of personal data for residents of the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA). It’s an important evolution in privacy practices, and one we’ve already started to account for: if you notice, our existing Privacy Policy already discloses the type of personal data we collect from you, how we use and limit any sharing of your data, and your rights to control our use of your personal data.

What you can expect.

In coming weeks, we’ll provide more information on how EU residents in Second Life can best exercise their rights under GDPR. In some cases, you may take actions through your account dashboard (to modify your personal data, for instance). In others, it may be necessary to file a support ticket and verify your identity (to better protect your privacy).

– Linden Lab May 9th blog post on the upcoming GDPR

The GDPR defines personal data as, “any information related to a natural person or ‘Data Subject’, that can be used to directly or indirectly identify the person.” This includes, but is not limited to: IP addresses, on-line identifiers (including avatar names), e-mail addresses, photographs, as well as the more usual name, address, bank details, medical data, etc.

In addition to defining requirements for how such data should be managed and protected by organisations gathering it, the GDPR also specifies a number of rights to Data Subjects who have their personal information stored by companies and other entities. These include, but are not limited to:

  • The right to be informed: Data Subjects have the right to know what data is being collected, how it’s being used, how long it will be kept and whether it will be shared with any third parties.
  • The right to access: generally speaking, organisations are required, within one month of receipt of a formal request, to provide a copy of any personal data concerning the requesting Data Subject.
  • The right to rectification: a Data Subject can formally request that inaccurate or incomplete information relating to them is updated, and the update must be made within one month (exceptions can apply).
  • The right to be forgotten: a Data Subject can request the erasure of all personal data relating to them in certain circumstances (e.g. it is no longer necessary to hold it; if the data was unlawfully processed or it no longer meets the lawful ground for which it was collected). However, there are certain exceptions to this.

(In addition, the GDPR defines: The right to object (to data being gathered); The right to restrict processing; The right to data portability; and Rights related to automated decision making including profiling.)

For those running businesses through Second Life or Sansar which use services  – web sites, computers, etc.,  – outside of Second Life for the collection and storage of personal information on their EU Second Life  / Sansar customers, the GDPR might have significant import – and exposure to the risk of fines. For such businesses, the Lab’s advice is clear and straightforward:

If you collect or process personal data of EU residents on a website associated with Second Life or Sansar, or create or make use of programs that retain information about Second Life or Sansar users or their computers, you may also have obligations under the GDPR. You should consult with your legal counsel for advice regarding your site(s) or program(s).

– Linden Lab May 9th blog post on the upcoming GDPR

To help people get to grips with GDPR, if they haven’t been aware of its arrival, the Lab offer a series of links to articles and FAQs. To these I would add:

The following is a brief video outlining the GDPR in under a minute.

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Two modest exhibitions to catch your eye in Second Life

Ce Soir Arts: Xanthe Firehawk – Mystical Spring – The Awakening of Spring (centre)

Art exhibitions in Second Life come in all sizes – from those that are region-sized, through ensemble gallery complexes exhibiting work by multiple artists to small boutique-style galleries, either run by the artist or curated and offering a focused exhibition featuring the work of a single artist.  Two exhibitions falling  into this latter category are Ce Soir Arts, and VOIR Gallery. They are currently and respectively hosting modest exhibitions by Xanthe Firehawk and Storie’S Helendale (GlitterPrincess Destiny) which are both well worth taking the time to visit.

Mystical Spring at Ce Soir features nine images by Xanthe celebrating the arrival of spring. They range from pure landscape settings through to beautifully created avatar studies that richly capture the mysticism and romance we sometime embody within thoughts and images of spring.

Ce Soir Arts: Xanthe Firehawk – Mystical Spring

The landscapes – La Pastorale de Printemps (“Spring Pastoral”) and Spring Awaking offer views rendered in both the soft colours and the rich blooms of spring; the latter very much the embodiment of nature bursting into a celebrating of the season, the former a little more subdued, and perhaps reflecting some of the religious / pagan connotations of spring through its title. These are mirrored  by La Danse du Printemps (“Spring Dance”) and Mystic Downpour from across the other side of the gallery space.

However, and for me at least, the most striking part of this exhibition are the five studies facing the gallery entrance. These perfectly embody all of the mysticism and fantasy we weave into spring whilst also standing as marvellous examples of Xanthe’s art. Such is the strength (and size) of the central piece – The Awakening of Spring – in this quintet of pictures, it is easy to find the eye drawn away from the smaller pictures bordering it two to a side; but I do urge you to take the time to examine them in turn, as they are as equally rich in narrative and symbolism – the unicorn, the font, the white stag – and again stunningly rendered.

VOIR Gallery: Storie’S Helendale: Solitary Moments

Solitary Moments, on display at VOIR gallery, presents a series of self-studies by Storie’S, offered in both colour and black-and-white. The Advanced lighting Model (ALM) should be enabled within the viewer prior to viewing (Preferences > Graphics) and local Windlight set to that recommended at the gallery entrance or – if you don’t have the specific Windlight – set your time of day to Midnight.

The images themselves range in tone and approach; while nudity is limited, it is perhaps best to consider them as being close to NSFW. As the title of the exhibition suggest, the pictures reflect moments caught in the time when one might be alone with one’s own thoughts.

VOIR Gallery: Storie’S Helendale: Solitary Moments

What these thoughts might be is part of the allure of the pictures; they invite us to study them and weave a mood and vignette around them. With one or two – such as Suspect Red – there is a suggestion of being caught unawares whilst lost in thought: the hand extended toward the camera perhaps in an effort to prevent the picture being captured. Meanwhile, Not Extinguished appears to suggest a certain pensiveness on the part of the subject – the cigarette, the way one arm is crossed over / holding the other… All of the images are further nuanced by their very titles, some of which invite more than one interpretation – again, Not Extinguished being a case in point.

All told, two very different, but equally engaging, exhibitions.

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